Medical marijuana advocates notched a major victory Friday when the Illinois Senate approved a bill that will grant epileptic minors access to a form of the drug to treat their symptoms.
In the waning hours of the Illinois General Assembly's spring session, the bill garnered bipartisan support with senators voting 54-2 in favor of the proposal.
In states like Illinois, Wisconsin and Kentucky, parents of children suffering from epilepsy have pushed for the legalization of cannabidiol, or CBD oil, to treat their children's intractable seizures, which can range from debilitating to deadly. Unable to secure the drug in their home states, families from around the country have moved to Colorado, which passed generous laws on CBD oil access for minors.
"It puts parents in an extremely difficult situation," Nicole Gross, one of the Illinois parents who lobbied for the bill, told The Huffington Post in May. "You can stay where you are and face the possibility [your child] may not wake up the next morning from SUDEP (sudden unexpected death in epilepsy). Or do you move to another state, but be separated from your home and family?"
Gross is among parents who moved to Colorado with her children to get CBD oil; her son, Chase, suffers from epilepsy. Gross' husband Randy, who remains in Illinois for work, was following the bill's progress closely and told HuffPost via Twitter Friday its passage marked "a good day for us in Colorado and Illinois."
The bill passed the Illinois House last month; advocates are confident Gov. Pat Quinn (D) will sign it into law when it reaches his desk.